Do you love all felines, leopards and cheetahs? In this article we explain the characteristics of the serval, a feline very similar to these. Learn about its origin, curiosities and a lot of interesting information about this beautiful animal.
The serval, also known as the African wild cat, is a medium-sized, slender-looking animal. It has a spectacular black and orange coat reminiscent of the leopard, which serves as camouflage.
Characteristics of the serval
It is a mammal with an average weight between 9 and 12 kilograms in the case of females, and up to 18 kilograms in the case of males. One of the main characteristics of the serval is its thin and elongated legs, which allow it to reach great speeds when running, making it an excellent hunter and the fastest feline on the planet after the brown cat .
He also has excellent hearing, thanks to his huge ears, and is a very good swimmer. They feed on small animals, mainly rodents, hares, birds, insects and small reptiles and have a life expectancy of 10 years in the wild, while in captivity they can reach 20 years.
Where do servals live?
Servals are native to Africa and can be found in savannahs, scrublands and jungles. They like to settle near lagoons or ponds to swim and hunt fish, crabs and amphibians.
Unfortunately, the serval is considered an endangered species due to indiscriminate hunting. In countries such as South Africa it has already become completely extinct, while in other nations such as Algeria, Morocco or Kenya it is a protected animal by law.
In many zoos around the world we can find serval specimens in captivity. However, in order for a zoo to house one or more African wild cats, it is necessary to have special permits and comply with requirements to ensure a good environment for them, such as a diet based on raw meat, bones and nutritional supplements.
They also need to be placed in a large area, as close as possible to their natural habitat and with space to hide, as servals tend to be shy and may feel threatened by zoo visitors.
A pond or lagoon is also indispensable, since an important aspect among the serval’s characteristics is that they love to swim and play in the water.
Can a serval be crossed with a domestic cat?
The serval is a wild, solitary and very territorial animal. It could be said that it shares certain behaviors with cats, such as play, as both love to have fun, jump and run around with their prey before eating.
However, the cat and the serval belong to very different species and among the main problems that the crossbreeding could produce is the fact that the serval cannot be domesticated. The risk of the animal hurting or injuring other cats, its owner or other people is very high, not only because of its size but also because of its strength.
Even so, in the 1980s, a breed of domestic cat emerged from the cross between the African serval and the cat Siamese . This breed is known as Savannah and stands out for its large size, highly active character and hunting instinct.
In conclusion, the serval is a wild cat native to Africa, with a spectacular coat and similar appearance to the cheetah. It is fast, agile and a very good swimmer. Although the serval’s characteristics may be similar to those of a domestic cat, crossbreeding is not possible mainly because this beautiful feline cannot be domesticated.